It never ceases to amaze me that leftists (centrists, progressives, socialists, altruists) are NEVER WRONG! No matter how disastrous the results of their beloved programs [War on Poverty ($20 trillion and counting), the “Stimulus” ($1 trillion plus with interest already paid), Obamanomics (worst ‘recovery’ of the post war era), etc.) They will smile and tell you “it’s great,” or the more commonly, “it’s not the fault of the program, which was perfect, but ‘not enough money was allocated,'” or “evil people were chosen to ‘run’ it.”
You never hear, “Sorry about that!”
[Sources: Venezuela and the real reason why “real” socialism has never been tried, by Kristian Niemietz; What’s the matter with Venezuela? It’s not socialism, it’s corruption, by Ryan Beitler]
If I were to pick the most flagrant disaster of the past two decades I would pick Venezuela. The latest experiment in socialism has ended in tragedy and likely will lead to a war. What do you mean by “tragedy,” ask you? What I mean, answer I, is devastation to an economy and the safety of its citizens! The description below is not from a Wall Street hedge fund mogul. It was the description in the SOCIALIST WORKERS newspaper!
“Venezuela is deep in crisis. It has the world’s highest inflation rate—720 percent and rising. Its currency has plummeted to less than 1 percent of its official value, making it hard to import food. Hunger is endemic. Buying food requires queuing for four hours, only on certain days, and sometimes still getting nothing. Medicines and sanitary products are scarce. Chronic power blackouts have seen factories close and public sector workers move to a two-day week – this in a nation with the greatest oil reserves on Earth!”
It is important to remember that the left thought Hugo Chavez was Jesus reincarnated… the Second Coming! Just a few years ago leftists were praising Venezuela’s experiment with socialism. It was fashionable in the UK and other Western countries. Venezuela became a popular destination for political pilgrimages. (Footnote – you really need to read these fawning accolades and acclaim bestowed on Chavez by leftist sycophants)
But how do leftists view it now? They have an excuse for EVERYTHING!
Here are the excuses cited by Ms. Niemietz – before you read these comments you need to read the original praise by these leftists in the footnote:
- Those who relish using Venezuela’s troubles for political point-scoring have no interest in the truth. – Owen Jones
- Venezuelans who protest against shortages of food and medicines are either CIA-funded foreign spies and saboteurs, and/or members of the elites trying to restore their former privileges – Seumas Milne.
- US-linked opposition leaders […] launched a campaign to oust Maduro […] [The] protests have all the hallmarks of an anti-democratic rebellion, shot through with class privilege and racism – Seumas Milne.
- Evidence for the US subversion of Venezuela […] is voluminous – Seumas Milne.
- Venezuela was never ‘really’ socialist – Noam Chomsky.
- I never described Chavez’s state capitalist government as ‘socialist’ […] It was quite remote from socialism. Private capitalism remained […] Capitalists were free to undermine the economy in all sorts of ways, like massive export of capital – Noam Chomsky.
Here are the excuses from the Beitler article:
- Venezuela has slid into an economic and political cataclysm under authoritarian President Nicolas Maduro (formerly a hero fo the leftists – RF)
- Maduro’s authoritarianism is contrary to the economic egalitarianism established by his predecessor Hugo Chavez
- the corruption, greed, and elitism of the democratically elected government is directly at odds with everything socialism represents and everything the people of Venezuela long for.
- The vast natural resources in Venezuela… should make it an extremely profitable society, but those resources are instead used to directly profit the people in the authoritarian regime. (I thought that’s what socialists accused Capitalists of doing – RF)
- Chavez carried out his socioeconomic reforms but pursued less savory results in various bids to increased his executive power (again, I thought that’s what socialists accused Capitalists of doing – RF)
- Unethical agricultural production, and an immoral financial services industry steeped in voracity are all consequences of corrupt and immoral capitalism (there it is! I knew they would blame CAPITALISM for the failure of SOCIALISM – RF)
- The National Assembly Commission determined one of the most corrupt institutions in the government is the state-owned oil company Petroleum of Venezuela (PDVSA). (OK. Who “nationalized” the petroleum industry that was making Venezuela a rich nation? Oh right! It was Hugo Chavez – RF).
And there you have it, my friends. The leftists are NEVER WRONG!
Footnote: Leftist praise for the Venezuelan experiment in socialism [From the Niemietz article]:
As the Guardian reported at the time:
“Meet the revolutionary tourists, a wave of backpackers, artists, academics and politicians on a mission to discover if President Hugo Chávez really is forging a radical alternative to neoliberalism and capitalism. From a trickle a few years ago there are now thousands […] exploring a leftwing mecca which promises to build […] “21st century socialism.”
One of those revolutionary tourists was Noam Chomsky, who, in 2009, summarised his impressions:
“[W]hat’s so exciting about at last visiting Venezuela is that I can see how a better world is being created […] The transformations that Venezuela is making toward the creation of another socio-economic model could have a global impact”.
Three years later, Owen Jones went on a pilgrimage to Caracas as well, and reported:
“Venezuela is an inspiration to the world, it really does show that there is an alternative. I met so many people who told me how their lives had changed since the election of President Chávez”.
In the Independent, Jones wrote:
“Chávez […] is the first Venezuelan president to care about the poor. […] Under Chávez, the poor have become a political power that cannot be ignored […] [H]e has proved it is possible to lead a popular, progressive government that breaks with neo-liberal dogma.”
Seumas Milne also went to on a pilgrimage around the same time, and came back convinced that he had seen the future:
“Venezuela’s […] success in bringing resources under public control offer lessons to anyone interested in […] new forms of socialist politics in the rest of the world. […] Venezuela and its Latin American allies have demonstrated that it’s no longer necessary to accept a failed economic model, as many social democrats in Europe still do.”
After Chávez’s re-election in October 2012, the General Secretary of Unite the Union, Len McCluskey, said:
“We welcome this result which is a clear endorsement of Hugo Chávez’s progressive social policies. Venezuela shows that governments that put the needs of ordinary working people first can expect strong support at the ballot box. […] Europe might want to learn the obvious lessons from Venezuela”.
Andy Slaughter, the MP for Hammersmith, added:
“This is a great result for the people of Venezuela, progressive politics, and the democratic process”.
In the weeks and months following Chávez’s death in 2013, there was no shortage of voices which praised his political legacy. The General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), Bill Hayes, said:
“Hugo Chávez helped to inspire a new socialism for the 21st century and provided the spark that lit up the whole South American continent”.
The General Secretary of UNISON, Dave Prentis, believed that:
“Hugo Chávez will be remembered for his continuous struggle to raise up the poor, his commitment to social justice and his dedication to fairness and equality”.
The General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Frances O’Grady, added:
“Hugo Chávez saw the implementation of an impressive and highly progressive programme, lifting millions out of poverty”.
Jon Tricket, the MP for Hemsworth, called Chávez
“A titan of a man. Progressive, democratic, garrulous. In turbulent times he made change happen for the poorest”.
Owen Jones described the legacy of Chavismo in the following terms:
“Chávez became an icon for Venezuela’s long-suffering poor. […] [H]is policies transformed the lives of millions of previously ignored Venezuelans. […] He will be mourned by millions of Venezuelans – and understandably so.”
At a pro-Chavez rally in London, Jeremy Corbyn said:
“Chavez […] showed us that there is a different, and a better way of doing things. It’s called socialism”.
In an article on his website (now deleted), Corbyn wrote:
“Venezuela is seriously conquering poverty by emphatically rejecting […] Neo Liberal policies […]
At a pro-Venezuela event in the UK, Diane Abbott opined:
“[Chavez] showed the region that it was possible to do things differently […] I feel particularly passionate about defending the revolution of Venezuela and the Chavez legacy.”